John Aravosis asks (re: Rick Warren):
I’m reading a lot about how Obama “reaches out” to his adversaries, and that’s why he’s building a track record of inviting avowed homophobes to stand front and center at his campaign events and now his inauguration.
Okay, I’m game. So we know being a gay-basher doesn’t disqualify you from a seat at the Obama table – in fact, it seems to be an outright qualification for proving Obama’s post-partisanship. If Obama prides himself on reaching out to all sides of every debate, then why is it that Obama has never sat down with, or promoted at his events, an avowed racist or anti-Semite?
(Via Kos.) To state the obvious: Rick Warren isn’t there to represent (metaphorical) “gay-bashers”, he’s representing (white) Christians. Now, Christians, as a group, are primarily concerned with stopping abortion, gay sex, and fucking generally – I understand this isn’t universal among Christians, but the anti-gay and anti-abortion jihadis do exist in large numbers in this country, and I doubt many of them come from the secular humanist community (all of whom are going to be tortured in flames forever by the Merciful Sky God for noticing that this is fucking retarded.) People with very well-thought-out theological arguments about why 70-whatever percent of Christians are not really Christian can present them to me right after I present my dissertation on why Batman could beat up Darth Vader if Thundarr the Barbarian let him borrow his Sun Sword, and also a hundred other brilliant arguments based on fiction. Apologies to believing Christians and Jedis.
To answer John’s question: give it a month. Barack Obama will then sit down with, and promote at state events, a parade of very non-metaphorical racists, anti-Semites, murders, tyrants, torturers, and worse, many of whom are our very great friends. He will do it for these essentially the same reason that he has, and will again, court Rick Warren – because they are players in the international sphere much as I gather Mr. Warren is in the domestic. And so they will be offered these symbolic concessions in the hope that they are stupid enough to trade them for material concessions. And it often works: you’d be surprised how many people expect politics to validate their identity, and for whom the ultimate prize is to win meaningless symbolic triumphs over their rivals. It’s called “politics”, the business of negotiating the world of humans, most of whom are scorching assholes and insecure idiots. There are ways of avoiding this unpleasantness, but they all involve not being a politician. The Game is the Game.
Is this smart politics? Will courting Warren indeed weaken the Republican stranglehold on white evangelicals? I don’t know, and neither do you. Warren is being given a symbolic victory in exchange for the possibility of material political gain for a liberal agenda. That’s a trade you take every single time.